Unilever and WPP launch unique in-house collaboration in Singapore

23 May 2018

WPP Team Unilever will provide a new, agile model to meet Unilever’s evolving marketing needs and the challenges of technological change

SINGAPORE – Unilever and WPP have launched a first-of-its-kind on-site collaboration with Unilever Foundry and its startup community. Based at the LEVEL3 co-working space, home to Unilever Foundry and its community of startups, the partnership will drive creative innovation and enhance response to the pace of change in consumer markets.The initiative sees the creation of a flexible new Team Unilever model, with specialist expertise from various WPP agencies coming together under one roof at Unilever Foundry’s LEVEL3 co-working space in Singapore to provide innovative solutions for Unilever’s 400+ brands.

Pier Luigi Sigismondi, President of Unilever, South East Asia & Australasia, said: “This exciting collaboration is the first step in laying the foundation of the marketing services ecosystem of the future. When you combine the multifunctional capabilities of WPP with agile startups, you get a strong partnership which can continue to build Unilever’s core business, and at the same time address the huge shift taking place in consumers’ lives due to technological change.”

The new approach draws on talent from multiple agencies including; Burson Cohn & Wolfe, Design Bridge, Geometry, Hogarth, J Walter Thompson / Mirum, Kantar, Mindshare, Ogilvy, Smollan, Verticurl, VML and Wunderman. The WPP community will work alongside Unilever Foundry and over 50 startups, such as; Celtra, Datacraft, Happi, Next Billion, Try & Review, Unruly and Vidsee.

Peter Dart, WPP’s Global Team Leader for Unilever, said: “We wanted to take the opportunity to co-create a structure that allows us to work much more closely with Unilever and focus on all the various services along the consumer journey that can help Unilever and its brands grow. The key is agility and the enhancing ability to respond to disruption in the consumer products market as well as in marketing services offerings.”

Leading the Singapore effort is Sudipta Roy, Managing Director, Team Unilever for the Singapore Hub and SEA. He said: “We have taken a fresh approach to the ‘Team WPP’ design. Instead of designing around the brand or the category, we have designed around capabilities and intelligence in order to solve business problems. We have access to cutting-edge technology and new products across every pillar of the Unilever marketing framework through the startup community in Unilever Foundry. We look forward to collaborating with them to deliver breakthrough models, communications and consumer connections products.”

David Porter, Unilever’s VP of Media for Asia, Africa & Russia, and a key supporter of the initiative, said: “We are looking at a number of ways to bring external marketing services closer to our colleagues inside Unilever. We work more frequently in fluid, multifunctional teams, so it makes sense to bring our key partners physically closer to us and to explore different in-sourcing models. With WPP, we are taking a major step towards in-housing key external services at Unilever. The unique environment of LEVEL3 puts our agency partners much closer to our brands, closer to our data, ecommerce and internal creative resources, and also closer to the digital startups which are transforming our world.”

Juliana Yeh, WPP
+852 22803790

About Unilever Foundry

Unilever Foundry is a global platform for partnering with the world’s best startups to accelerate innovation on a global scale. It brings together Unilever and startups, to encourage innovation and create new partnerships that deliver real and meaningful business impact. Unilever Foundry focuses on the following areas: Marketing Tech & Ad Tech, Enterprise Tech, Products & Ingredients, New Business Model Innovation and Social Impact. It provides a single entry-point for innovative startups seeking to partner with Unilever, enabling the company’s global brands to experiment with and pilot new technologies more efficiently and effectively. It provides startups with the opportunity to develop and work on global projects, access mentoring from marketing professionals, and tap into funding through Unilever Ventures. Startups are invited to apply to be part of Unilever Foundry at http://foundry.unilever.com

About LEVEL3, Singapore

Created by Unilever Foundry and innovation catalyst Padang & Co, LEVEL3 is Singapore’s most vibrant co-working space for experimentation and innovation. By fostering a collaborative culture with proximity to our corporate and government partners, LEVEL3 provides startups a unique opportunity to prototype their ideas and solutions in a real-world business context. LEVEL3 is open to tech startups and entrepreneurs, not just those in Singapore but also startups that have an innovative product or service and are ready to scale in South East Asia and beyond. LEVEL3 currently houses 60 startups and 170 members. Last year, LEVEL3 facilitated 20 mentorship pairings between Unilever executives and startups and developed pilots with 15 startups.

About WPP

WPP is the world leader in communications services. The Group provides a comprehensive range of services including digital, ecommerce and shopper marketing; advertising & media investment management; data investment management; public relations & public affairs; brand consulting; health & wellness communications; and specialist communications.